490 South Van Ness Site

According to a Project Manager at the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the total project cost for the 72-unit building which the City is planning to develop at 490 South Van Ness Avenue and 16th Street in the Mission has been estimated at $64 million or roughly $888,889 per unit.

Approximately $30 million of the project budget, which includes the proposed $18.5 million for the site, is slated to be funded by the City’s affordable housing funds with the balance ($34 million) funded through a mix of State Affordable Housing for Sustainable Communities financing, the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, and the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program.

If the land sale for the 490 South Van Ness parcel is approved next week, the City plans to issue an RFP for developers this fall and start construction spring 2016. The building, which was approved by the City last year, could be ready for occupancy by the end of 2017.

Revised 490 South Van Ness Rendering

The 72 units are slated to be permanently affordable apartments for families making no more than 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with 20 percent of the units designated for formerly homeless families making less than 30 percent of the AMI.

92 thoughts on “Budget To Build 72 Affordable Units In The Mission: $888,889 Each”
      1. This isnt a poor door site, it is a 100% affordable building. The cost is so high because the Mission Moratoriumist Mafia are forcing the city to buy land in the most expensive part of the city at the top of the market, and then only developing it to 7 stories. The land cost per unit is very high… close to 300k. This money would be MUCH better spent on developing more densely on city owned land like 1940 Mission or Balboa Reservoir, but the emotional attachment to the Mission is causing us to make irrational decisions. You wouldn’t pay to park your car in a penthouse, and we shouldn’t be parking homeless people in the most expensive land in the country. It’s complete mismanagement of funds and will end up helping significantly fewer people. We could literally buy 8 ginormous houses in Detroit for each unit here.

        1. I agree with the first three sentences, the general notion that SF should aim to get the most for our money, and this looks like a very bad deal.

          However, it is unconstitutional for the government to segregate a class of people. When SF spends money to build public housing, then it has to distribute it throughout the community, not concentrate it in lower cost neighborhoods or use the funds to build housing in some other community. Cost benefit arguments don’t trump basic human rights. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on this back in 1976. Everyone that thinks we can or should build our public housing wherever it is cheapest, be it in Detroit, Daly City, Manteca, Bayview, Treasure Island, Oakland, etc, is wrong legally and morally. Never gonna happen again (see Indian Removal, Chinese Segregation Laws, Jim Crow, Hills v. Gautreaux, …).

          The sentiment that some neighborhoods in SF are too expensive for poor people and that they should move on has a very ugly history in San Francisco, it was behind the destruction of poor and largely minority neighborhoods in Western Addition and Soma. It was stopped in SF in the 1960s and 1970s by coalitions in the Mission and Chinatown, including a radical tenants’ rights activist named Ed Lee.

          “This land is too valuable to permit poor people to park on it,” Justin Herman, Executive Director, San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, 1970.

          1. Thanks Jake, off the top of my head the Supreme Court analysis is not quite right (please provide the case).

            Of course the government can segregate, and for that matter, treat different classes of people differently (ie. housing restrictions on sex offenders..tax breaks for homeowners..etc.). What the government can’t do is treat people of a protect class (read: sex, race, ethnicity, religion) differently without a really really good reason (the gov. can’t give tax breaks only to white homeowners and not black homeowners….race is a protected class, whether or not you are a property owner is not). If the government is going to pursue a policy that applies the law unequally to a protected class, or in some circumstances, pursue a law that has a disparate impact on a protected class, then the gov. must pass a strict scrutiny test.

            Income is not a protected class. The government can treat poor people differently so long as its policy is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose…and for that matter the government typically gives benefits to people of a certain income while withholding from others (ie. earned income tax credit).

            Given that income is not a protected class, I don’t see why the city of SF would be constitutionally required to build subsidized housing equally throughout the city. I have never heard of anything like that before, and if we have the best interests of poor people at heart, spending 888K on these units when perhaps twice as many units could have been built in other neighborhoods is doing a great disservice to the poor.

            Yes, I agree with you that the examples of the race based segregation you mention above are abhorrent.

            On a side note, right now there is immense market pressure to build more and denser housing. The best case for the government to be building housing is when their is no appetite in the private market to build any housing and there are a lot of people without housing. In this environment, there is immense appetite to build housing from the private market, but the city of SF is standing in they way. The city of SF needs to open up the gates, relax zoning laws, institute a quick permitting process, and allow private parties to come in and increase the housing stock of the city…which costs the city $0/unit.

          2. I did give the case. It specifically addressed these issues. It was unanimous, including Rehnquist, who had himself signed unconstitutionally restrictive private covenants when purchasing a home in AZ.

            The US Constitution does not obligate SF to build housing for poor people, but if SF does, then the US Constitution prevents SF from constructing a ghetto either within SF or outside of it. Wealthy people can’t use the government and their taxes to concentrate economically less-well-off people.
            There is no debate or on this, or to put it differently, we had the debate and the debacles for about 200 years and the Supreme Court settled it. The only wiggle room would be about how much distribution vs clustering to allow within SF. And you can be sure Federal Judges, the FHA, and Mayor Lee know it.

          3. Jake — Hills v. Gautreaux prohibits the federal government from RACIALLY based discriminating public housing policies…it was a great decision but is not obviously analogous to what is going on in SF nor does it necessarily follow that public housing needs to be built in the most expensive areas of the city.

            In Hills, the gov. was providing subsidies in a way that encouraged racial segregation. One of the remedies was to disperse the subsidies in a way that intermixed white and black populations. IT DOES NOT FOLLOW that the city of Chicago was required to provide subsidies in the most expensive parts of the city nor does it follow that Chicago needs to apply subsidies evenly across the city. For example the city of Chicago could use subsidies in poor white neighborhoods to help intermix the black population — they didn’t need to use them in the Loop, Gold Coast, or other expensive white neighborhoods areas. The court was focused on racial intermixing, not income intermixing.

            Again, income is not a protected class. It is constitutional for the city of SF to primarily build public housing in low cost areas of the city because such a policy is rationally related to the legitimate governmental interest of providing housing for the poor. More bang for your buck. The fact that this may segregate people across wealth or class lines is constitutionally fine, because again, unlike race, income is not a constitutionally protected class.

            Perhaps, you could argue that most poor people are a of certain race, and that while providing subsidies for poor people in low cost areas is not on its face racially discriminating, there may be a disparate impact. That is something that would need to be empirically proven and I don’t think it is necessarily what is going on in SF. Constitutionally speaking, disparate impact has been a tough hurdle to jump over.

            For fun, let’s look at the Mission development mentioned in the article from a straight up racial lens. Mission is a predominately Hispanic neighborhood. This development is supposed to reduce displacement in the Mission, or in other words, help the Mission keep its Hispanic residents. Put this way, and in some weird irony, it appears that the city of SF is spending 888K per unit in order to build a housing development that furthers racial segregation (ie. keeps the Hispanics in the Mission instead…as the court suggested in Hills…to help spread racial groups throughout the city)

          4. Come on, how naive do you think people are? Are you unaware of the history and persistence of racial segregation in public housing in the USA? How about the segregation and neglect of the disabled? Are those enough ‘protected classes’ for you? Are you unaware CA law requires SF and all counties to “designate and zone sufficient vacant land for residential use…to meet housing needs for all income categories”? Ever wonder why?

            Good luck building a ‘separate but equal’ ghetto in Manteca or Bayview. Or trying to sell the notion that we should concentrate undesirable/poor folks in remote neighborhoods for their own good. That they would have just as good or better outcomes and get the same quality of government services as anywhere else, as soon as we get them out of the sight of wealthier NIMBYs. The facade of that kind of concocted cost/benefit analysis were shredded long ago by David Stockman in the Reagan admin and the ‘say it is about money and not race’ died with Lee Atwater.

            Good luck getting FHA or CA money for a new ghettoization. And good luck getting it to pass the smell test with a federal judge.

            As to your analysis of this project, I don’t think any of us knows who specifically will occupy it, do we? And since the selection criteria are likely to be race/ethnic neutral, I think you are wrong to believe it “furthers racial segregation”, regardless of whether anyone who backs it may want something like that. This project is too small by itself to have much impact on any of these issues. If it does have costs as high as this estimate from a single unnamed source, then it may be a useful posterchild for the opponents of these projects.

            FTR, the Mission, as defined by SF Planning, is not “predominately Hispanic.” It is about 40%.

            My comments are directed to the repeatedly proposals on SS to divert much or most of the SF low-cost housing funds to displace poor people from the wealthier areas of SF to the poorer ones or even to locations far from SF. I see this posted on just about every affordable/BMR/public housing story here, be they in the Mission, Chinatown, northern waterfront, Mission Bay, Soma, or even to rebuild the housing projects on the southside of Potrero Hill. Ed Lee entered SF politics fighting that in Chinatown. He will probably leave SF fighting it still. The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but it is long, and with our help may be shortened.

          5. “Good luck getting FHA or CA money for a new ghettoization”

            I think that RCQ’s point about this project in fact continuing racial isolation is being overlooked. It’s not that the powers-that-be want to give low income people a chance to have their kids to go to the same good schools that the wealthy neighborhoods have. It’s that the supporters want to maintain the ‘neighborhood identity’ which is (which has been in recent decades) predominantly hispanic.

            City leaders want to use broadly sourced city funds to spend in a very targeted expensive way to ‘keep things as they are.’

            Look for a new rule/law for priority for these housing spots to be given to those who have made the Mission their home for the past 5 years, or who are otherwise ‘victims of displacement.’

            It isn’t about creating new housing for new entrants, it’s about appeasing entrenched political interests.

            If you don’t buy the argument that some neighborhoods are too expensive for poor people, should we buy the argument that some neighborhoods are too Latino for upwardly-mobile people? Or that everyone else should pay to keep them so?

          6. I didn’t overlook it, I refuted it. The Supreme Court explicitly ruled against using public housing policies to preserve a racial mix. That was one of the main points of the 1976 decision and had long been used to keep non-whites out of white communities. Whatever some supporters want, the city can’t do that and a judge wouldn’t allow it.

            Regardless, this is now an Ed Lee sanctioned project. You aren’t going to win a ‘call the other guy a racist’ contest with a master of the arts of SF ethnic politics. As Jon mentions above, this looks more like the mayor being willing to “pay any price, bear any burden, … in order to assure” his reelection and also to deflect the Mission moratorium momentum with some good old fashion excessive gov spending.

            If you don’t like this project or the Missionization of the SF housing budget, then you would do better to focus on the ROI than to makeup policies that no one has proposed. I think that is what the unnamed source/leaker is signalling. There are probably many SF taxpayer/voters that would be fine with this at half the cost, go along with it at two-thirds the cost, but gotta wonder about handing city hall another multi-hundred million dollar bond in November if they are spending like a politician binging in their last campaign. Afterall, this isn’t Chicago. We have at least the pretense of fiscal discipline to maintain.

          7. i will certainly be voting “no” on the housing bond and will encourage everyone i know to do so. This project really takes the cake.

          8. Then why do they need to put it all in the Mission. There are already a lot of public and affordable housing projuects in the Mission, along with a ton of SRO’s. This project is designed to enhance segregation, not dispel it.

          9. Hola, they don’t and they haven’t. For years SF has built more new public housing in Soma and Mission Bay than in the Mission. There is a legacy concentration of public housing in the northern end of Mission, though less than in either Tenderloin or Chinatown. The Mission may be the focus of most of the politics of affordable and public housing, but it hasn’t been the focus of the actual building of new public housing.

          10. It’s easy to see through your moral pretense jake. And when one looks beyond your hyperbole, the notion that we are one step from ghettoizing poor folks is ridiculous. That was unfortunately all too often the case mid century, but the FHA is not directly involved going forward in SF’s projects. The new major affordable housing projects going forward in the city are in Bayview and hunters point. The new developments are mixed income, with 33% affordable component. The old projects have plans to be rebuilt and managed differently. These are all financially rational decisions- rebuilding/re managing terrible federal housing failures and working a deal with lennar on a huge new development to get 33% inclusionary housing.

            This $888,889 per unit nonsense is pure politics, and a perverse waste of tax payers money. It has nothing to do with, “oh, let’s make sure to add affordable housing to ‘more expensive’ neighborhoods.” If that was the case, why haven’t we “sprinkled” these units in Pac Height, St Francis woods, the Marina, etc? Because it makes zero sense, and is not what the Supreme Court intended. They ruled on segregation of protected classes, not income. It would be absurd to expect that SF sprinkle affordable housing in all its neighborhoods. For one, where is the available land for that? Two, places like st Francis Woods is zoned rh-1, making it impossible to add affordable housing, lest you have an empty block or two at your disposal.

            And you’re misapplying this general statute, “CA law requires SF and all counties to “designate and zone sufficient vacant land for residential use…to meet housing needs for all income categories”. Most counties have different cities, towns, and open space. SF is a city and county. Suggesting that SF handle this like most counties is wrong and not what the law intended.

            Lastly, it could easily be argued that the city is not only foolish, but is doing a grave disservice to its citizens needing affordable housing by wasting money on “we’ll show them” projects like this. This is clearly an offshoot of the Campos initiated mission moratorium, which is designed to allow the city to purchase the few available mission parcels by arm twisting private owners, but they have to pay market prices. Ironically, with the $888,889/unit cost, the city is amply demonstrating why private developers can only afford to build “million dollar condos.” Talk about a moral fallacy, if anything the city should be prohibited from wasting public finding to only award a few lucky lottery winners. Focus on that, instead of your high and mighty, yet incorrect, Supreme Court interpretations.

          11. Thanks, once again, for making up nonsense and misrepresenting what I’ve written to attack me. Just confirms your well earned infamy.

            I never suggested “we are one step from ghettoizing poor folks”. In fact, I have been very clear that we won’t be doing that, even if some people that post on SS would prefer it. Not gonna happen.

            Why do you feel the need to fabricate things so you can make personal attacks?

            FTR, HUD is financing a portion of this project through the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, as mentioned in the SS article above. HUD and Federal $$$ remains involved in affordable housing in SF. HUD has even funded part of Lennar’s Bayview development.

            CA code section 65913 lays out what local governments have to do to “designate and zone sufficient vacant land for residential use…to meet housing needs for all income categories.” It is only a few paragraphs long, makes no distinction between SF and other counties, and is much more coherent than SFrentair’s babble. Anyone that wants to understand factors SF is required to consider in creating these projects can find it online. It answers all the questions raised by SFrentair with none of the nonsense.

          12. Wondering why we haven’t had any affordable housing built in Pac Heights, the Marina, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, etc, or even places like the Richmond or Sunset? It seems that we are sticking to the exact same places that have always had affordable housing – the Tenderloin especially.

          13. Hyperbole: “Good luck building a ‘separate but equal’ ghetto in Manteca or Bayview. Or trying to sell the notion that we should concentrate undesirable/poor folks in remote neighborhoods for their own good.” Why even imply that? To,feel better about your pretense that’s why.

            HUD placed some funding, NOT management. That’s the point.

            You’re the one misapplying the CA code to try to win an argument.

            Your arrogance, circular arguments (with RC queen), and misrepresentations are ridiculous. I haven’t heard you refute my arguments that this is politically motivated, a waste of taxpayers money, and basically a cheap campos political stunt.

          14. Yeah, why even mention what multiple posters on SS have called for multiple times? You can feign outrage at or ignorance of this all you want, but the ‘build/buy housing in Manteca or Detroit (or wherever is much cheaper than SF) and buy poor people a oneway bus ticket there’ is a common refrain on SS. Jon touched on it above to open this thread. My comments were in context. Why ignore that context and what others have said just so you can mischaracterize my statements, yet again?

            Why would I refute your opinions about this specific project when I mostly agree with them, as I had already expressed before you joined this thread with your usual charm and reading miscomprehension.

          15. The Manteca or Detroit “argument” is a straw man; it’s not taken seriously but may have been mentioned to compare housing costs. But the argument that you can build or offer more affordable housing near SF in the Bay Area, is not only a valid argument, it has already been put in practice. When the original “projects” on Cesar Chavez and Valencia gardens were cleared out, some of those folks were given a one way ticket to Richmond (or given vouchers and assistance.)

            As for providing affordable housing in SF proper, the HP Shipyard and treasure island are two significant developments that are doing that. It’s not as if this city, the BOS or even mayor Lee are not attuned to this issue. You’re trying to conflate the outrage over this particular farce of a project and present yourself as a high minded moral voice. And quite frankly, I find your attempt to be the moral compass of socketsite insufferable and pretentious.

          16. From the outset on this thread and repeatedly, I have been clear that I agree with much of Jon’s criticism of this project, while I also disagree with his Detroit alternative. That you think somehow I have conflated these when in fact I have distinguished them merely illustrates your enduring struggles with reading comprehension.

            Some people given an option to move to Richmond is not at all the wholesale displacement that has been proposed many times on SS. FTR, the HOPE rebuilds in the 1990s resulted in fewer units, so there wasn’t much choice other than to have some people relocate. SFHA policy for the current HOPE rebuilds are one-for-one replacement with right-of-return, starting with Hunters View.

            You may not take the wholesale displacement proposals made on SS seriously, but they are on SS just about every week in various guises. Some posters have posted them many times. And they have been made by many different posters, who I doubt you know enough about to know whether they are serious or not. Sure, you and I may agree it won’t happen, but that doesn’t mean that none of the people proposing it are serious about it nor any of the readers. I also have my doubts that you know what a strawman argument is any more than you knew what it meant to jump the shark, but so be it.

            Coming from yourself, a widely acclaimed champion of insufferability and holder of record on multiple websites, I can only say thanks for the laughs.

            If you don’t like what I write, then don’t read it. And if you don’t want me to write so much, then don’t respond to my posts.

          17. For the love of God, you’re the one with an acute reading comprehension disability. Jon gave two specific examples in SF as alternatives, “This money would be MUCH better spent on developing more densely on city owned land like 1940 Mission or Balboa Reservoir…” At the end he made a relative cost comparison with Detroit, “We could literally buy 8 ginormous houses in Detroit for each unit here.”. He said nothing about Detroit being a real, much less possible alternative.

          18. As I wrote from the start, “SF should aim to get the most for our money, and this looks like a very bad deal.” SF does plan to build on 1940 Mission and on Balboa reservoir. Those are in addition to this project, not alternatives. And so far they have not had anything as excessive proposed for them, unless you take seriously SFBARF’s nutty proposal to build 3500 units on the Balboa reservoir. Based on the SFBARF record, parsing their (jon from SFBARF) comments with a narrow interpretation is unwise.

            But you’re a practical man of action, ask yourself, what is the practical action-oriented utility of “a relative cost comparison with Detroit”? What possible purpose could such a comparison serve? You’ve been reading SS longer than me. How many times have you read something like:

            “Better yet, get the most bang for your buck and build these units in Detroit.”
            “It is amazing that we need to spend 690k to house a low income family. Maybe we can give each family $600 per month and give them a ticket to Texas or Detroit?”

            or similar statements with another lowercost part of the US suggested as a better location for low income SF families?

            Do you know the difference between a strawman and a dog whistle?

          19. “Cost benefit arguments don’t trump basic human rights.” Condos are not a basic human right, nor is living in any particular location. One might argue that shelter is a basic human right.

            Shelter can be obtained for much much less than hundreds of thousands of dollars per person, and thus provide shelter for way more people such as our burgeoning homeless population, provide other much needed services, or even (gasp!) letting productive people keep what they earn.

            If “wealthy people can’t use the government and their taxes to concentrate economically less-well-off people” then why can poor people use the government and their taxes to lay claim to some location?

    1. Politicians who spend other people’s money to buy an election “talking point” don’t tend to care if they’re spending it efficiently or not.

      Let Campos and his ilk raise funds on their own to build affordable housing – and once they see that money doesn’t grow on trees, or gush out of their copy of Das Kapital when they open it, maybe they’ll actually learn how to use a pencil when they try to play “real estate developer”.

    2. My understanding is the other project doesn’t account for the value of the land which SF owns. In this case more than half the estimated cost is buying the land

    3. The land cost 18.5 million, which comes out to 257k per unit, or about 29% of the final cost.

      For the other development, I think it is deceptive accounting to not include land cost into the budget. The land clearly have a lot of value. If the city is willing to contribute the land the accounting should reflect that. The way some people talk about it as surplus land as it has no value is going to lead to undisciplined used to valuable resources.

  1. This is why everyone should vote against the housing bond this fall. The city will just waste the money on dumb projects like this one. These units that Campos describes at “family friendly” average 777 sq st., so $1,144 per sq ft for “affordable housing”. When will people learn that there is no affordable housing in SF. There is luxury housing you pay for, and for a lucky few lottery winners, luxury housing that you get someone else to pay for.

    To everyone who thinks the city can solve the housing crisis, this is Exhibit A on how they will never, ever make a meaningful difference.

    1. There IS affordable housing in SF – it’s just not in the neighborhoods that are currently highly-desired.

      This is an appalling waste. Not only does it waste taxpayer $$, it short-changes the very population that it purports to help – by building less units (and smaller units) than that same $$ could build in less popular neighborhoods in SF.

      Totally agree what the housing bond issue needs to be voted down so this nonsense stops until the City can get its act together enough to show that it can function efficiently. This project is Exhibit A that shows they cannot.

  2. This is so outrageous. I can’t believe the city is spending that much to house at best 72 families that make nothing with everyone else’s money. This is literally over 11x the gross median income of the people of San Francisco. It would take 11 years of gross pay to pay for this with a normal job and the city is just giving it away to 72 lucky lottery winners while everyone else is left paying for it. Why on earth do 72 lucky families deserve 11 years of median pay from the city just because they have low paying jobs? Sorry to be extreme but $889k is crazy!

  3. It is a waste of money. The City will never get a return on the investment. So, 72 families will be subsidized by the taxpayers of SF. Vote NO on the Bond for BMR.

  4. This is exactly why I keep saying if you can’t afford to live here, move somewhere that you can afford.

    The city leaders are just ripping off the tax paying citizens of San Francisco.

    1. I’m sure too many are finding they “have to.” It should be City policy to address the problem to try to ameliorate it to some extent.

      1. If you believe that, go out and raise $888,889 so you can get one affordable housing unit built. Have some bake sales or something and donate the money to the City.

        Or write to you Supervisor and tell him or her what existing program you want the $888,889 deducted from, to be used to build one unit. Then go deal with the people who run that program and tell them that you’ve found a better use for that money. That would be fun to watch.

        Or do you just think $888,889 falls from the sky? And if so, cant’ you think of a better use for it?

        1. You know, there should be something in addition to a financial means test for residency. How about a worthiness of San Francisco metric?

          A lotta fails here.

          1. A “means test for residency” based upon “worthiness of San Francisco”.

            I like this. I propose that we allow Supervisors Campos, Avalos, Kim, and Mar to appoint 10 friends each as “border control guards”, at a salary of $200,000 per year, plus benefits. These guards will scrutinize all entrants to SF, and allow or disqualify residency based upon the following criteria:

            1 – Correct race or racial views (Caucasians allowed, but only if they demonstrate a thorough understanding of their White Privilege. Latinos allowed, but if Catholic, must renounce all views of the Catholic Church. African Americans allowed, and immediately given 40 acres of Pacific Heights property and a mule)

            2 – Correct education (All technical degrees disallowed. Degrees in Victimization, History of Gender Oppression, and Art acceptable. Others to be further scrutinized)

            3 – Correct political affiliation (Republican denied entry and tarred and feathered before they leave. Democrats potentially allowed entry – must hold views to the left of Bernie Sanders and must have read the complete works of Noam Chomsky. Greens allowed, but only if they can demonstrate that they have Correctly composted for the prior 5 years)

            4 – Correct tolerance levels (All entrants to have skin conductance and muscle tension measured as they view films of gay, lesbian, and transgendered sexual acts. Any evidence of elevated stress levels warrant denial of entry based upon obvious Homophobia)

            5 – Correct musical taste (All IPod music lists examined. If there is any classical music, entry to be denied. Exception: entrants are allowed one classical song, but only if it is obviously intended to be ironic by being sandwiched in between a Radiohead song and a Ludacris rap)

            6 – Correct citizenship status (All natural-born citizens must agree to volunteer 10 hours per week to speak at elementary schools and ask forgiveness for any injustices they are responsible for that were committed between the years 1776 and 1865. All legal immigrants allowed, if they denounce the process of legal immigration as Unduly Oppressive. All illegal immigrants allowed, but must surrender any automatic weapons)

            In addition, all allowed entrants who show more than $888,890 in assets must donate $888,889 to the City of SF, to be used for the construction on one affordable housing unit.

          2. Hi Ecco,

            Regarding you race criteria, the politicians you mentioned are actually racist against African Americans. Don’t put us in the mix. No one in SF govt is doing anything for blacks. I’m fine with that as I don’t think we should be building policies on helping one race vs another, but this city offer does much to call out and help other communities with racist policies such as Campos policies and Rose Paks influence

  5. If they can manage to save $1 per unit, the price drops to $888,888. I feel lucky that that will make this project viable.

  6. Can someone give even a ballpark-accurate list of the line items involved here? If it’s typically political hurdles, neighborhood opposition, bureaucratic wrangling, and procedural inefficiency that cost a market rate developer to develop at ridiculous expense, to what purpose would these dollars be spent?

    For the good of all housing, market rate and subsidized (for which, when done efficiently and well, I can certainly see rationale and provide support), and for the benefit of San Francisco overall, there needs to be political opposition to wasteful – or fraudulent? – projects as implied here. Allowing these to proceed is a lose, lose proposition. BMR residents get screwed out of what fleetingly few opportunities may exist to live in the city. Taxpaying residents of all stripes get nothing for their dollar. Everyone loses faith in the city and policies that, if executed well, might actually provide complementary benefit to all.

    How about replacing the housing bond ballot measure with one that demands that units be built some meaningful amount below market rate, with efficiencies provided by way of removing the aforementioned development hurdles seen so often in this city? Builders agreeing to do so must be so incentivized, yet with reasonable profit motive built in as well, while being held to quality standards that if not met are remedied by the builder itself.

  7. Wow — and for certain, not all of those 72 units are “family-sized”, i.e., 2-Bedroom and larger.

    According to the approved design on record at the Planning Dept., the entitled unit mix is for (29) 1-Bedroom and (43) 2-Bedroom apartments — a total of 115 bedrooms — so that works out to $556,520 per bedroom.

    I seem to recall non-stop complaining about how the “private sector” is only creating “luxury housing”.

    So based upon these figures, it looks like the “public sector” is likewise only capable of developing “luxury housing” — albeit entirely subsidized by our tax dollars.

    Absolutely zero creative/economical thinking going on here.

    This is a disturbing, irresponsible and appalling waste of money.

    Vote NO on the “Affordable Housing Bond” this November.

  8. I’ll say this: I have lived in SF for 30 years, and I have never met a firefighter, teacher or police officer who lived in “affordable” housing here. I have on the other hand met many, many residents of the developments who have been carted in to read from a script at the BOS and similar meetings, on behalf of their benefactors. If you want to play here, you have to pay.

  9. This is criminal and a senseless waste of tax dollars. They could buy 72 3 bedroom SFHs in Daly City for this, which is a 10 min BART ride. Then they could build luxury here, turn a profit and build another 72 3 bdr SFHs in Daly City. Campos is a racist criminal schaudenfraude and should be run out of the city. I hope john Stewart covers this. How can they possibly justify this? Are they even getting multiple contractor bids or just handing out to friends?

    [Editor’s Note: As we reported above, “the City plans to issue an RFP for developers this fall.”]

      1. Posted by Zig 1 day ago: “I’m sure Daly City would tell you and Campos to go F your self.”

        I would much rather piss off the Canepa Mafia in Daly City. I don’t think I want to pick a fight with the Ed Lee mafia in SF!!

  10. The City themselves are making the housing crises a lot worse with this land deal. This will be the highest price land sale in the Mission. If this deal goes through every other land owner will now want more $$$$ for there land = higher prices for everyone. Thanks City!!!!

  11. Yes, please don’t censor this post. Our government is full of stupid [people]. How is this “affordable”. Let the poor move into “micro units” on Treasure Island! It sounds mean, but it’s not. They are getting it for FREE.

    It’s completely asinine that those who are able to buy here are slaving away and “families” (who forced them to procreate) feel an entitlement to stay “just because”!

    Pathetic. It would be a hilarious irony if a massive earthquake knocked down all the “affordable housing” in one massive hit so that San Francisco can learn the true meaning of “Renaissance” and “mass gentrification”

    These politicians are self serving @55holes

  12. Crazy. Remember that the city is also losing out on $8-10,000 in property taxes per unit per year. Huge, huge waste.

  13. Last time I checked, there were thousands of restaurants in this city to dine at. Let’s allow the problem to reach critical mass before we reward those who will never afford to live here.

    Also, if this goes through, each individual’s tax returns should be investigated annually and if they one year have income that exceeds the requirement, boot that person and their family out of the home.

    It’s bullsh*t!

    1. What if they only work in jobs with cash payment or self-employed? Many so-called “low income” people never file a tax return but they may get good income from self-employment or cash payment from multiple jobs.

      Also if there are 10 people living in a unit, and each one of 10 people makes 35k per year, do you consider them a “low income” household? Their total income is $350k for 10 people.

      1. In the unlikely event all 10 members of a 10-person household were gainfully employed, then yes, they’d be earning 7.1 times the Federal poverty limit for such a household, or 245% of the AMI according to the latest table from the Mayor’s office. (Namelink has the full table — I extrapolated to figure out 10.)

        Means testing would mean testing means.

  14. Why not just select the 72 winning “families” and write them each a check for $888,000, let them loose in the San Francisco housing market to buy a home of their choice and then turn the vacant lot on South Van Ness into the El General Campos Open Space preserve for the homeless. Everybody wins except the tax paying fools.

  15. The cost of these is actually much worse. The approval would have produced 12 affordable units paid by the developer. So the city is getting 60 units for $64mm!

  16. For that price, per unit, one could spend $3,500 per month on an apartment for 21 years. This makes no financial logic whatsoever. Am I missing something?

  17. The mayor couldn’t find 11 mil to replace broken elevators in senior housing but somehow found twice that for some real estate?!?

  18. There are already a very large low income and homeless population in SF. Because of this and the small number of BMR units and funding, the chance is close to zero for the low income and homeless population to get such a unit.

    Seems that the best policy for the low income and homeless population is to only allow super wealthy new SF residents, remove all the middle income residents, reject all the new low income and homeless. This way, the number of low income and homeless population will not go up, the super wealthy will pay tax to fund BMR construction.

    Is the Gang of Four implementing such a policy? Or is this policy already in effect?

    1. Alongside the most expensive (failled) bus terminal and the most expensive (failed) bridge in the world.

  19. With that kind of scratch, you could house all these families in Texas and provide them with 30K/year for 25 years.

  20. If this was already permitted to a market-rate developer, it presumably included at least a 12% BMR component, i.e. 9 units. Therefore, the City is only getting a net gain of 63 unit. Is that correct? If so, the true per door cost on these incremental gain of BMR units in my mind is $1.02 million per unit. I hope the Supervisor (or Supervisors) who approved this purchase reconsider and do NOT approve this massive waste of money!

    1. Chris,
      I mentioned this yesterday, the developer was going to build 12. So it is 60 units for 64mm

  21. The true cost is much higher if you count the lost property tax of $12k per year. Over 50 years, that’s another $600k.

  22. Ridiculous, how about the city take steps to increase the amount of new construction and forget about giving an expensive windfall to a few lucky lottery winners?

    1. lol, yeah. Maybe, maybe properties will appreciate at a lower rate, but even properties in SF across the street from projects have not fallen in value over any kind of medium range timeframe. This is the nice part about not allowing the correct amount of development.

      1. Yes and no. There are the old school projects with decades long criminal, gang, and drug activity, atrocious management (SF Housing Authority) versus these new school projects for the working poor who may have evolved from that kind of lifestyle. Depends on the tenant screening. The neighborhood makes a huge difference in the property values. You may have a good run up when the times are good because the rising tide lifts all boats. But once the good times fade, you’ll see a steep retreat.

        1. My point is that steep retreat has never lasted even medium term for any place in SF. Unless you can find me a property that is worth less than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago? I’ll even take something worth less in inflation-adjusted terms. It doesn’t exist as far as I’m aware, outside of possible eminent domain takings where the property is now publicly owned.

  23. so many wise people here. a pity none of you vote or run for office because you’re all a bunch of p*ssies, who appeal to no one. so much tough talk and yet none of you would dare speak up in public. Keep hiding behind your screens, that solved problems before!

  24. Campos has a budget to buy affordable housing. Will he do the hard work and build as many as he can, or will he just make one very visible project that will buy him a lot of air time and street creed.

    Fixing a problem like our enormous lack of housing takes time, and it takes even more work and courage. We should be talking 1000s of units, massive rezoning, partnerships with developers, and years and years of changing the status quo, sacrificing whatever political capital he has.

    But Campos wants to build 72 units knowing the visibility will buy him 100 times more votes.

    Expect this to be on Fox News really soon “Million Dollar Social Housing! Free Millions!”. Then he’ll have gained massive street cred from the natural backlash against Fox News.

  25. That number is sure lucky for Chinese, which will probably take half of them, with Campos’s minions the other half.

  26. It buys Campos and his ilk 144 votes (72 * 2 on average) with your taxpayer dollars. For him it’s a bargain.

    1. but most of the potential candidates are already his electors. I think it’s about the soundbite. If you take close to a Million to house one family in need, you will look like Robin Hood, taking money from the rich to give it to the poor.

      Now what will need to be done is make certain the people in this units were not cherry-picked to further an agenda or thank allies. I am certain the system is fair, but as they say “Trust but Verify”.

    2. we should go back to citywide elections for supes. campos and [people] like him would never win.

      1. Yes, but we should eliminate the number of supervisors. We don’t need to be paying for that many people and their lackeys.

  27. The city should only rent and not sell bmr units in the city. If people make too much, they need to move on to market rate. The purchase of the bmr system is broken when people in those developments are driving new $50k cars and doing $30k kitchen renovations, it is a sign that they should never have been included.

  28. $64m invested wisely would yield an annual return of about $5m a year. Enough to pay these 72 families $70k a year for life.

  29. Something’s a little weird with the sale price. Either graft or bad judgement.

    The owner bought it in 2009 for $2.6 million. That represents something like 678% appreciation in six years. It’s permitted, but that’s not a huge issue to the city.

    Also, in the past few years, the owner started excavating the gas station and had to stop due to contaminated soil. The remediation isn’t even finished.

    If the city were to be the one selling this piece of land, it would not be anywhere near $18mm

    1. My bet is on graft. Take for example the public bathroom built in Portmouth Square in Chinatown. It costs taxpayers $2M and the whole thing drains improperly. Folks in Chinatown shake their head over the level of government corruption and incompetence. And you thought the mainland Chinese officials were corrupt.

  30. They should have done this in 2009 or wait till another downturn but there’s now a clamor to get SOMETHING done after all these years… But really 800k per unit is absurd.

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